fbpx

Video Production Sales Techniques: Going After Low Hanging Fruit

The following is the transcript of our podcast on “Making Sales Easy by Going After Low-Hanging Fruit” with Jennifer O’Brien. You can listen to the podcast here. Find out more about Jennifer here

Max
Today, we’ve got Jennifer O’brien, and Jennifer is a longtime producer for a lot of big production companies in the northwest.

Jennifer
For 10 years I’ve been working in the Seattle market for a clients like Microsoft, AWS Starbucks, Expedia, fortune 500 companies. Not only was I producer, but I also was a creative director and sales manager for a prominent company located out there in Redmond, Washington. We were doing about $2 million in sales and I played an active role in growing the business from just under $1 million to just over $2 million.

What Do We Mean By “Low Hanging Fruit” In Video Production Sales

Max
So often it’s that low hanging fruit that can actually be the underbelly that grows your company to higher levels. Jennifer, when you think of lowest hanging fruit – what’s in there?

Jennifer
When I consult with companies, this is always my biggest topic because as you’re growing your business a lot of people who are starting a company, they’re actually a DP or they’re actually a producer. They’re starting their company and they’re working their way through their company, but you’re still playing other roles within your company. So you’re not a full-time salesperson for your business. That means you need to limit the amount of time while your time is limited by nature, to how much time you have to do sales activities. Capturing a large fortune 500 company can sometimes take a year or more to go through several rounds of bidding and building trust and networking in order to get that first deal. So low hanging fruit are just easier pickins, right? Things that that can happen or turn around in a week or two weeks where you can be kicking off much more quickly.

Track Video Production Clients Through Places Like Linkedin for More Sales

I think one of the biggest areas that people miss is tracking their customers through LinkedIn to see when they change companies. So if I’m working with so-and-so at Microsoft and they decide to go to Google, I now have a contact at Google and I’m going to want to definitely follow up with them with a congratulations on their move to Google. And then with a request for a meeting six to eight weeks after their transition. That is a great way to potentially open up a new client and a new line of business while also getting introduced to their replacement within the current team who were working with.

Max
That’s very true. I can’t tell you the number of times that happened to me, especially as people change seats all the time. What about clients when they sort of start going inactive on you and trying to stay up to date with those inactive folks and not get too discouraged about them being inactive?

Don’t Be Afraid to Repeatedly Contact Your Targets

Jennifer
When I first got into sales, I really felt like I was just pestering people. You know, my mentor was just telling me, email them again, email them again. And it took me going to a conference and hearing someone speak and say that the average sale takes approximately 18 points of contact. So, you have to get back in their sight lines and send them little notes. Things like if you know that their kids are in baseball and there’s a funny baseball thing. These kinds of sales activities build relationships that tell people that you know who they are and that you’re here for them, as a person, not just as a client,

Max
What about sharing your work with them and so forth? How often do you want to share work with them? What stage of work do you want to share with them?

What Video Production Work to Share and How Often to Share It

Jennifer
A newsletter is great. Not everybody will open it, but they will see that you sent one. Insta posts are great, but not everybody’s on your Insta. So I really think LinkedIn posting is a great way to reach a lot of your clients in a centralized location. Make sure you’re friending all of your clients on LinkedIn. That is really where they go to get business news. So if you’ve shot something or done something cool, a newsletter is great. LinkedIn posting is great. You want to keep your name in front of them for when that right opportunity arises. We would send a newsletter about once a quarter. Again, they take time to prepare and they take time to send. Streamlining that the best that you can keep it really simple, just focus on one or two topics, try to include some value. What did you learn from the project? What next, you know, what best practices that made it such a success?

Max
I always found an interesting thing was showing clients stuff  that was in progress. If I knew it was really in their line of work. In other words, I always found that if it was a lawyers, if I was working on a lawyer video and I had like three other past clients that were lawyers, I could take a little bit of what I was working on and sort of show it to them almost while it was still being worked on and say, “Hey, look at this cool stuff we just shot.” And something about letting them under the Komono as it were  just felt very intimate and, and I always got a response from them. “Oh, that’s cool. Thanks Max for sending that.” They knew it wasn’t something I would put on Facebook but it was something that I really had thought of just for them. I often had a lot of, a lot of luck with that. Of course, you have to make sure you’re cleared by your client to show it!

Find Your Niche in Video Production Sales

Jennifer
Clients who want to see something that looks pretty much exactly like what they want or they want to know that they’re hiring someone with some expertise. So for example, I really found my niche in technology and like AI and data science specifically. And anytime I would compete against another vendor who didn’t have a bunch of samples that were AI or data science related, we would win over them every time.

Max
And there’s a great example of low-hanging fruit – low-hanging fruit being the niche that you’re starting to develop, which kind of almost always happens inadvertently. We strangely got into the niche of making rights videos for Muslims. Then all of a sudden everybody in the Muslim community, across the country and even around the world was coming to our company to help them make videos about any aspect of, of Muslim tolerance.

Jennifer
Because there’s a comfortability and a trust that they don’t have to explain to you or have six meetings to get you up to speed. They know that you’re going to understand the terminology and phrasing, and it makes a huge difference in a sale.

Max
And you start to understand what’s out there and what are the techniques people are using and how you can get ahead of that because everybody wants their video to both be sort of in line with the others, but also a few steps ahead. Something new in it and so forth.

Jennifer
And another thing with sharing current work with inactive clients is also to say, “Hey, I also have an idea for you.” And just pitching, even if the pitch goes nowhere, the fact that you thought of them took the time and pitched something, gets their ideas and wheels turning.

What Tools are Helpful to Manage the Video Production Sales Process

Max
So, so how do you keep track of all this stuff? Do you use a CRM or when is the right time to bring on a CRM?

Jennifer
You need to have a stage appropriate CRM. So if you are just starting out and you are a one man band or a two person band, you can use Excel spreadsheets to create a CRM and just simply put in all the information you need for your clients, their titles, where they’re working. A little bit of information about what you know about them. Once you get to the next level, there are some affordable CRMs out there. I used to use a program called Nimble. It was about $25 per person per month. And it had a LinkedIn feature so that we could look at LinkedIn through our CRM system to see if our records were matching. What was current on people’s LinkedIn pages? None of them are perfect. They’re all a little bit wonky.

Max
We found HubSpot to be pretty amazing for free right out of the gate. They have a pretty generous free offering. We used that for free for almost a year. Before we had to actually start paying and then sadly it goes up astronomically. So you may have to switch from it, but in the beginning, HubSpot was just a good place to go once you’re a little past the the Excel spreadsheet.

Jennifer
And I think the most important thing is to note when you’ve contacted someone. So when you’re making a sales connection, make sure to go back to your CRM and note the date and what was discussed. So that the next time you’re looking for someone to contact, you got an hour to do sales. You can go to your sheet and say, wow, I haven’t contacted this person in three months. We last spoke about this conference and you can follow up and say, “Hey, how was the conference?”

When Should You Hire a Sales Professional to Help with Video Production Sales?

Max
What about when when’s the right time to (and when we had a podcast about this a little while ago), but when is the right time to start looking for help with sales and with business development?

Jennifer
Again, stage appropriate phasing is the way to go. So in the beginning, hiring an assistant, someone who wants to get into the industry and maybe has a little bit experience just to help you do the data entry side is going to be really helpful. You can just CC them on all your emails and have them going in and automatically updating your documents. They can do that remotely for not a lot of money. Then, kind of thinking about when you’re ready to hire a sales person, because most of us don’t get into the industry to be a sales person or to just do business development. That’s usually not where people’s passion lies. At some point, you will want to hire somebody who does do that professionally. It’s super niche, and it’s very expensive. So, you know, when you’re ready to go from $1 million to $3 million, that’s when you need to find the money to bring someone on.

How and When to Get Referrals?

Max
Talking about referrals. One of the most awesome things that happens of course, is when you get a call from someone, they say, “Hey, I was talking to my friend Bob. And he mentioned that you folks do this kind of work…” What’s the right way to optimize your chances of landing that referral?

Jennifer
First off, you’ve got to request referrals a hundred percent. You need to ask the people you work with if there’s anyone that they can refer you to that would benefit from your services. Referral is the number one way that you’re going to get low hanging fruit. And it’s going to be the number one way to have clients just walking right through the door without doing any sales work at all. So you have to request the referral.

Max
How do you do that? How do you do that request? What do you say?

Jennifer
When I’m wrapping up a project or we’re getting close to a final edit, I’ll just say, “Hey, you know, it’s been really great working with your team. Is there anyone else on your team that makes videos or on like an adjacent team that you could introduce us to? We’d love to further our reach within your organization.”

Max
So you’re talking about within an organization. Was that typically what happened or was it referral from just any other business owner, whomever that they might know?

Jennifer
I think client-to-client referral is always the best. So someone who’s worked with you and they are happy with the work and they’re telling their colleagues, you know, these are the guys I used. Look at the cool video. Super happy. Because what happens is when that referral contacts you there’s no competition there’s no competitive bidding. They just, they want you because they trust you, based on that referral.

Max
I love that idea of the inter organization referral. Again, I tend to think of referral as like, you know, Bob owns company a is referring me to company B, a friend of his, he plays poker with, but you’re also talking about this inter organization. And that’s really true when you start working with these large organizations, Amazon, Microsoft, so forth. I mean, they’re just, just tons and tons of opportunity, right?

Jennifer
Oh a hundred percent. And HR is a great example. So if I’m working with a marketing team in maybe in a smaller company, I might say, or a medium-sized company, I might say, “Did you know that we’ve been making a lot of videos in the HR with HR departments, blah, blah, blah.” And all of a sudden you’ve prompted a referral to their HR department. They may not want to meet with you right away, but it’s another contact to continue to, to push, and you can show them the work that you’ve done. And again if you’re going to ask for those referrals, ask specifically for the things that you do have samples for. So it’s a quick, “Here’s my work.”

Max
So often the doors originally opened with marketing. Like say it’s a bank chain, right? The doors opened by the marketing department because they’re used to hiring video people and so forth. But the other departments like PR they dream of having a video. They don’t have any idea how to approach it. And so, saying, “Hey, we’d love to go pitch in front of them.” I found that to be really work. They would be like so excited and honestly, wouldn’t be looking around very much. You already got the referral from internal in the organization. And suddenly they’re like, “Hey, let’s carve out that $10,000 bucks in the budget for next quarter. It’s kind of amazing the way you can burrow into these organizations, and then just start spreading. We had organizations that we were doing videos for five or six different departments eventually.

Jennifer
It’s quite hard to get those half a million dollar budgets or whatever, but talking head videos, technology, explainer, videos, animated, explainer videos, when you present them and you show them how affordable it can be, even though your price is over $10,000, they oftentimes just thought that it would be more than that. But getting in front of them with those low hanging fruit projects – the talking heads and the technology, how to videos – they’re low hanging fruit. Everybody needs them. Everybody wants them. They just need someone to make it easy for them. And they want somebody who they don’t have to explain the whole, you know, backlog of everything. So if you can show them your experience with it, it’s, it can be a pretty easy in.

Max
And all of it’s just building trust to get to that higher level production. We saw it again and again, where we started doing straight forward stuff, but we always would put a little extra sugar in there and by and by over the years, we wind up doing the high end stuff because the trust was there and they saw that we had the capability. I think the challenge was reminding them that we did have the capability and the creative ability to do the higher end stuff all the time.

Selling the Project Within the Project

Jennifer
I do also want to mention another bit of low-hanging fruit is with the client you’re already working with. So if you land a new client, as you get towards the end of that project, if things are feeling good, client is happy, you can always say, “Hey, have you considered taking up this cool thing we’re making and turning it into a one minute spot and a social spot and a five second piece and a LinkedIn specific piece?” And like all these different things and putting together social packages for content, webinars included, just remixes what you’ve already made into other things. A lot of times they’ll say, “Well, we’ve already spent $12,000 and we’re really happy with what we have. So yeah,  let’s spend five more thousand and make six more products.”

Max
The funny thing is often the way the marketing department looks at it as a dollars per video. So you may actually be lowering their perceived costs if they were looking at well, we got one video for $12,000 and suddenly they’re getting six videos for $15K. It looks like, oh, wow, we’re geniuses. We’re getting videos for two and a half thousand bucks each. And I can’t tell you how often that was the thinking that at the end of the day. If you can actually provide more deliverables per dollar, they see that as a huge win upstairs for their team.

Jennifer
And the clients who I have sold that to, on their next jobs, they order it right from the get-go.

Max
Again, because they’re able to say, “Geez, we’re getting so much for this one. Arguably this price, isn’t nothing, but look how many parts we’re getting by the end of it.” And so you’re absolutely right. Well, thank you, Jennifer. That was that’s wonderful.

Jennifer
I think the one thing I would add is whether you are a freelancer or you have employees, we’re all a business and everyone should be employing these sales techniques and getting this information, because there really is no such thing as freelancing. We’re all our own individual businesses and we’re all hiring people to work with us on jobs. So taking this perspective and having that paradigm shift and setting aside time for sales is really important to every person in our industry.

Max
You got to embrace the business.

Jennifer
And to add to that, you can never stop selling when the train gets going. And you’re super busy because you’re working all the time. That’s because your sales is working. If you stopped doing sales and you only focus on the work, you’re going to run out of work. So never stop selling,

Max
Embrace it, and believe in your work and that people will want your work and want to share it and, and, and be a part of what you’re doing so well. Thanks again so much, Jennifer.

Jennifer
Thank you!

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *